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Psychology
Course
PSY341H5
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Hywel Morgan
Semester
Summer

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CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS  Externalizing problems denotes problems that tend to place young people in conflict with others o Other terms used to describe these types of problems: disruptive, impulsive, under-controlled, oppositional, antisocial, conduct-disordered, and delinquent  A distinction has often been made btw inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity on the one hand, and aggression, oppositional behaviors, and more serious conduct problems on the other o Young people with the 2 grouping of problems have high rates of referral for mental health and other social and legal services, and some portion of these youths have contributed to broad societal concern with levels of violence and crime  Conduct problems refers to the general group of disruptive/antisocial behavior problems  Conduct disorder and disruptive behavior disorder are used to refer to the particular diagnostic grouping that addresses these kinds of difficulties  Delinquency is primarily a legal term used in the criminal justice system to describe youth who exhibit conduct problem/antisocial behavior. As a legal term, it refers to a juvenile (usually under 18) who has committed an index crime or a status offense o Index crime is an act that would be illegal for adults as well as for juveniles (theft, rape, murder) o Status offense is an act that is illegal for only juveniles (truancy, association with immoral persons, violation of curfews, or incorrigibility) CLASSIFICATION AND DESCRIPTION  Disruptive behaviors are common at various stages of development  Young children & adolescents are often described as noncompliant, aggressive, antisocial, does not follow directions, does not comply with requests, or seem irritable or angry (Table 8.1 pg 179) o Preschool children: hit, kick, or bite other children o Early school years through middle school, children may engage in forms of aggression & bullying o Adolescents engage in dangerous behaviors and use illegal substances  Extreme & persistent forms of these behaviors cause a degree of disturbance and destruction well beyond the common experience  The persistence of these behaviors over time for some individuals—perhaps from early childhood through adult life—also contributes to their importance DSM APPROACH: OVERVIEW  The diagnoses of Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder fall within the larger DSM category of Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders.  The DSM also includes among the Personality Disorders a diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD): Applied to individuals who display a persistent pattern of aggressive and antisocial behavior after the age of 18. APD is characterized by “a pervasive pattern of disregard for & violation of the rights of others” and by multiple illegal and aggressive behaviors.  The diagnosis of APD requires that the pattern be present since the age of 15 with evidence that the individual did meet/would have met the criteria for Conduct Disorder w an onset before 15yrs of age DSM APPROACH: OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER  Children & adolescents are often stubborn, do not comply with requests or directions, and in a variety of ways exhibit oppositional behavior. o Not all such behavior is indicative or predictive of clinical problems.  Perhaps particularly for older children & adolescents, appropriate and skilled assertions of autonomy may be desirable and may facilitate development  It’s the less skilled and excessive oppositional & defiant behavior that may indicate present or future problems  Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): a pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior that is developmentally extreme.  Major criteria used (DSM) to define the disorder are listed on Table 8.2 Pg. 181 o At least 4 of these symptoms must be present for a period of at least 6 months. 1 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS  The criteria for ODD contain both emotional (e.g. angry) and behavioral (e.g. argues) indicators  There is some suggestion that both the emotional & behavioral symptoms of ODD contribute to the prediction of later disruptive/externalizing disorders ~ Emotional symptoms of ODD may also contribute uniquely to the prediction of later internalizing disorders  In considering a diagnosis of ODD it’s important to distinguish problem level behaviors and emotional reactions from expected levels of opposition and assertiveness  Thus, a behavior or emotional reaction must be judged to occur more frequently than is typical for a young person of comparable age. o In order to make a diagnosis of ODD the oppositional defiant behaviors & emotional reactions must cause clinically meaningful impairment in the young persons social or academic functioning  Oppositional & noncompliant behavior is a common during preschool age & during adolescence o Clinical level OD behavior should be distinguished from normative problem behaviors. o Diagnosis should require high levels of such problems. Noncompliance represents a practical problem for parents, teachers, and clinicians. o High levels of noncompliant, stubborn, and OD behavior may represent the earliest steps on a developmental path of persistent antisocial behavior and other difficulties  The appropriateness of the diagnosis rests on a balance btw “overdiagnosing” common problems of children and adolescents as disorders vs. ignoring potential serious problems that also may be early precursors of persistent antisocial behavior DSM APPROACH: CONDUCT DISORDER  The diagnosis of CD represents more seriously aggressive and antisocial behaviors  The violence, property destruction, and nonaggressive (truancy, theft) characteristics of CD behaviors may considerably impact individuals, families, and communities  Essential feature of CD: repetitive & persistent pattern of behavior that violates both the basic rights of others and major age appropriate societal norms  The criteria used by the DSM to define the disorder are presented in Table 8.3 o The diagnosis of CD requires that 3 or more of these behaviors be present during the past 12 months, with at least 1 present in the past 6 months ~ Behavior must cause clinically meaningful impairments in social or academic functioning.  Subtypes: Childhood Onset & Adolescent Onset are specified on the basis of whether one or more of the criterion behaviors had an onset prior to age 10  Symptoms listen in the DSM criteria for CD include diverse behaviors  Only 3 required for diagnosis o The diagnosis of CD may represent a heterogeneous group of youths with diff subtypes of CD  Concerns regarding the CD diagnosis: Current criteria may not be applicable to younger children o Suggestion: Modification of the DSM criteria to become more applicable to preschool children o Challenge: Distinguishing btw conduct problem behaviors that are very common in this age and more serious behaviors that might be predictive of longer-term & more persistent difficulties  Also a concern: If current CD criteria is equally applicable to both sexes (3:1 or 4:1 boys:girls) o Diagnostic criteria bias may distort a true representation of difference in prevalence o DSM doesn’t contain sex-specific criteria & was developed primarily on male samples o Girls may be more likely to display relational aggression than physical aggression EMPIRICALLY DERIVED SYNDROMES  The DSM represents a categorical approach to externalizing problems. o There is considerable evidence suggesting the benefit of conceptualizing externalizing problems in a dimensional rather than categorical manner.  An alternative dimensional approach for the classification of disruptive behavior disorders does exist o An empirically derived syndrome involving aggressive, oppositional, destructive, and antisocial behavior has been identified in numerous studies, which is often referred to as externalizing o It uses a variety of measures, reporting agents, and settings. 2 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS  Achenback & Rescorla described 2 syndromes: aggressive behavior and rule-breaking behavior lie within the broader externalizing syndromebehaviors that are characteristic of these syndromes (T8.4) o Youths may exhibit one or both types of problems ~ validity supported by a variety research findings  Research suggests: Higher degree of heritability for the aggressive than for the rule-breaking syndrome  Developmental differences also exist btw the 2 syndromes  Achenbach & Verhulst; longitudinal analysis: The average scores of the 2 syndromes declined btw the ages 4-10. After age 10 the scores on the aggressive syndrome continued to decline BUT scores on the rule-breaking syndrome increased  The stability (the similarity of a particular individual’s behavior at 2 points in time) was higher for the aggressive than for the rule-breaking (delinquent) syndrome o This shows: it’s important to distinguish btw types of externalizing/conduct disorder problems  Empirical approaches to classifying CD disorders also suggest other ways of grouping problem behaviors within this broad category ~ These approaches aren’t mutually exclusive and do overlap with the aggressive/rule-breaking distinction and with each other  Some approaches suggest a distinction based on age of onset: a later onset/adolescent-onset category consisting principally of nonaggressive and rule-breaking behaviors, and an early-onset category that includes these behaviors as well as aggressive behaviors.  Salient Symptom Approach: based on the primary behavior problem being displayed. Distinguishing antisocial children whose primary problem is aggression from those whose primary problem is stealing o Important to single out aggressive behavior in this way  There is support for distinguishing aggression from other conduct-disordered behavior on the basis of its social impact, correlates, gender differences, and developmental course.  Expansion of the salient symptom distinction suggests a broader distinction btw overt, confrontational antisocial behaviors, and covert, or concealed, antisocial behaviors o In additional to the overt-covert distinction, one may consider a distinction btw destructive and nondestructive conduct behavior problems  Ex. Aggression, animal cruelty, fighting, bullying are antisocial behaviors that are overt and destructive. Overt and nondestructive antisocial behavior: defiant behavior, temper tantrums, arguing, and stubborn o Status offenses (running away from home, truancy & substance abuse) are examples of antisocial behaviors that are covert and nondestructive. GENDER DIFFERENCES: RELATIONAL AGGRESSION  Gender differences exist in prevalence, developmental course, and the influences that contribute to the development of conduct problems  The most basic aspect of gender differences: the way conduct problems are expressed in boys & girls o Much of the research has been based on males samples which can affect estimates of prevalence  Boys frequently exhibit significantly higher levels of aggression than do girls  Crick: Noted that during early & middle childhood peer interactions tended to be segregated by gender - This suggested: Children’s aggression would focus on social issues most salient in same-gender peer groups. It was reasoned that the general definition of aggression (overt physical or verbal behaviors intended to hurt/harm others) was consistent with the characteristics of instrumentally and physical dominance typical of boys during childhood  Girls, in contrast, are focused on developing close, dyadic relationships. ~ Hypothesized: Girls’ attempts to harm others may focus on relational issues—behaviors intended to damage another individual’s feelings or friendships.  Relational Aggression, a few examples:  Purposely leaving a child out of some play or other activity  Getting mad at another person & excluding the person from a peer group  Telling a person you will not like him/her unless he/she does what you say  Saying mean things/lying about someone so that others will not like the person  Relational aggression may fit within the realm of covert antisocial behavior and is found from preschool age through adolescence. It’s associated with peer rejection, depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and isolation  THUS it’s important to broadly define aggression. 3 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS  A sole focus on aggression might fail to identify aggressive girls. Crick & Grotpeter found that over 80% of aggressive girls would not have been identified by a definition limited to physical aggression o Must be cautious in making non-gender-specific interpretations of findings VIOLENCE  Violence is defined as an extreme form of physical aggression. It might be defined as aggressive acts that cause serious harm to others, such as aggravated assault, rape, robbery, and homicide, whereas aggression might be define as acts that inflict less serious harm.  Additional factors may influence the development of violence, and there may be different needs for the prevention and treatment of violent behavior.  Two concerns regarding youth violence: 1. Youth as perpetrators of violent acts: Although rates of violent offenses by juveniles have dropped since the late 1990s, a significant number of youths are involved in violent behavior. Nearly 15% of arrests for violent crimes in the US involve a juvenile offender. Juveniles accounted for approx. 10% of arrests for murder, 15% for rape, 25% for robbery, and 12% for aggravated assault. 2. Young people are frequent victims of violence: Those exposed to violence also are at significant risk. Part of this exposure is contact w/ violent peers, but youth also are exposed to violence by adults & in a number of other ways (watching TV, movies & playing video games). If the numbers of youths who are physically abused, who witness domestic violence, and who reside in neighborhoods with high rates of violence are also included, the picture is even more troubling.  Youths chronically exposed to violence may suffer abnormal neurological development & dysregulation in the biological systems that are involved in arousal and managing stress o These changes can have far-reaching psychological and physical consequences  Young people exposed to violence (either as victims/witnesses) are at increased risk for developing aggressive, antisocial, and other externalizing problems  They’re also at risk for developing internalizing difficulties such as anxiety, depression, and somatic symptoms  Due to several highly publicized incidents, schools & communities implemented changes in school procedures to increase security, educational efforts were initiated to increase student awareness & to emphasize nonviolent social problem-solving strategies, and to provide additional services to students at risk for committing violent acts o Only a small percentage of youth violence takes place on school grounds and the rate of violent crimes remains low during the school day but spikes at the close of the school day. o Programs to reduce violence in schools should do so in a manner that creates a school atmosphere that facilitates the overall development of young people while ensuring their safety BULLYING  Interest in this topic was generated by Olweus’ work  Bullying is characterized by an imbalance of power & involves intentionally and repeatedly causing fear, distress, or harm to someone who has difficulty defending him/herself. o It begins to emerge in the preschool years and is common among elementary school children  Between about 9-54% of children are involved in bullying.  The scope of the problem is during middle school & beyond  Students in grade 6-10 reported involvement in bullying and about 30% reported moderate/frequent involvement (13% as a bully, 11% as a victim, and 6% as both) o Frequency of bullying was higher for 6 –8 graders than among students in the 9 & 10 grades o Reports of increasing use of internet bullying suggest that these figures may underestimate the prevalence of bullying  A youth’s genetic endowments & environmental influences contribute to which children become bullies, victims, or both bully and victim 4 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS  Males are more likely than females to be involved as both perpetrators and victims  Boys are exposed to more direct open attacks than are girls BUT girls are more exposed to indirect bullying which occurs in the form of spreading rumors, manipulation of friendship relations & social isolati(harder to detect)  Olweus describes the typical bully as highly aggressive to both peers & adults; having a more positive attitude toward violence than students in general; being impulsive; having a strong need to dominate others; having little empathy toward victims; and being physically stronger than average (boys only).  Typical victim: more anxious & insecure than other students, and is cautious, sensitive, quiet, nonaggressive, and suffering from low self-esteem submissive nonassertive style o Victims often don’t have a single good friend in their class. o Support from a close friend may buffer the effects of victimization  Bullying may be part of a more general antisocial, CD developmental pattern, and thus bullies are at risk for continuing behavior problems o Olweus: 60% of boys classified as bullies in grades 6-9 were convicted of at least 1 crime by age 24 and 35-40% of former bullies had 3 or more convictions by this age, compared with only 10% of control boys.  Repeated victimization is likely to be highly stressful and have appreciable negative consequences for some youth, particularly depression and loneliness. Some of these young people may be at increased risk for suicide.  Sudgen found: Some children may be particularly predisposed to experience the consequences of bullying. A varient of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene is associated with greater risk of emotional disturbance after exposure to stressful events. Children who are frequently bullied & who had this particular variation of the 5-HTT genotype were more likely to exhibit emotional problems at age 12 than were frequently bullied children with other genotypes, even when controlling for pre-victimization emotional problems and other risk factors. EPIDEMIOLOGY  Conduct problems are one of the most frequently occurring child & adolescent difficulties.  Methodological & definitional factors make exact prevalence difficult to establish  Investigations using DSM-IV criteria: Rates for ODD btw about 2-15% & rates for CD btw about 2-9%  A retrospective report of a large nationally representative sample of US adults suggests a lifetime prevalence of ODD during childhood and adolescence of 10.2% GENDER, AGE, AND CONTEXT  CD is more commonly diagnosed in boys than in girls; 3:1 or 4:1 ratio is typically cited  The DSM definition of CD may emphasize “male” expressions of aggression THUS CD may be underestimated in girls  Higher rates ODD are also reported in boys BUT the degree of sex difference remains unclear and the applicability of the DSM criteria to girls has been questioned  Sex & age differences in the prevalence of ODD & CD: An increasing prevalence of CD with age is often reported for both boys & girls and there is some suggestion that, due to particular risk for girls in the period around puberty, the gender ratio narrows temporarily in the mid-teens.  Ethnic & socioeconomic differences are often reported BUT one study (Roberts) found no differences in prevalence for disruptive disorder & ADHD in African, European, and Mexican American youth *11-17yrs o Contextual factors—poverty & the stress of high crime neighborhoods—are thought to increase risk for CD behavior  Greater prevalence is reported in urban than in rural environments o Records show greater delinquency in lower class & minority youth & in high crime rate hoods o The influence of these variables on child and adolescent conduct problem behavior is probably mediated by their impact on factors such as the ability of adults to parent effectively PATTERS OF CO-OCCURRENCE  Children & adolescents who receive one of the disruptive disorder diagnoses also frequently experience other difficulties and receive other diagnoses 5 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS  DSM indicates that if the criteria for both CD and ODD are met, only the CD diagnosis should be given, however most youths who receive the diagnosis of CD do meet the criteria for ODD.  The reported average age of onset was about 6yrs for ODD & about 9yrs for CD, suggesting that among boys with CD, this disorder is preceded by behaviors characteristic of PDD and that these behaviors are “retained” as additional antisocial behaviors emerge  but ODD does not always result in CD o Of the boys w/ ODD (but no CD) at the initital assessment, 75% hadnt progressed to CD 2yrs later o About half of the boys with ODD at Year 1 continued to meet the criteria for ODD at Year 3, and about ¼ no longer met the criteria for ODD. Thus, although most cases of CD meet the criteria for ODD, most youngsters with OD behaviors do not progress to a CD  There is also a considerable co-occurrence of ODD and CD with ADHD  Among children diagnosed with ADHD, approximately 35-70% develop ODD & btw 30-50% develop CD o When these disorders co-occur, ADHD seems to precede the development of the other disorders  The impulsivity, inattention, and overactivity of ADHD present a particular parenting challenge o Limited parent skills: A pattern of noncompliant & aversive parent-child interactions may be set in motion. The challenges of parenting an ADHD child may play a role in the early onset of ODD/CD behaviors.  Parent-child relationships are only one of the potential mechanisms whereby the presence of ADHD may increase the risk for ODD/CD  Twin study: Although ADHD, ODD & CD are each influenced by genetic & environmental factors, the covariation of the 3 disorders may be appreciably influenced by shared environmental factors consistent with the potential contribution of parenting  The co-occurrence of disruptive behavior disorders & ADHD may be one possible path toward more persistent and more severe conduct problems  Youths with disruptive behavior disorders commonly experience a variety of other difficulties including substance use problems. Also, young aggressive children are often rejected by their peers  Youths with persistent conduct problems are also frequently described as having certain neuro-cognitive impairments and lower school achievement Verbal & language deficits in executive functions: Higher order cognitive functions that play a role in info processing & problem solving  Internalizing disorders also occur at higher than expected rates among youths w/ disruptive disorders o Some suggestion that early co-occurrence of conduct & internalizing problems is associated with particularly high risk for negative long-term outcomes  Estimates of the rate of co-occurrence of conduct problems & anxiety disorder vary widely. Unclear if anxiety increases or decreases the risk for CD behavior, but it’s likely to be due to multiple influences.  The co-occurrence of depression & CD is clearly appreciable. A major depressive disorder co-occurred in 38% (community sample of older adolescents) of youngsters w/ a disruptive beh disorderClinical samples: Approximately 33% of children & adolescents had a co-occurrence of these disorders o Community & clinic populations: boys show greater co-occurrence than girls o It may be that one disorder creates risk for the other Ex. Frequent failures & conflict experiences o Alternatively the disorders may co-occur bc of shared etiol(genetic & environmental influences) DEVELOPMENTAL COURSE STABILITY OF CONDUCT PROBLEMS  Strong evidence exists that the presence of early CD behavior is related to the development of later aggressive & anti-social behavior and to a range of adverse psychological & social-emotional outcomes  The question of stability or continuity of antisocial/CD behavior is a complex one o Some but not all youngsters continue to exhibit aggressive & antisocial behavior.  The challenges are to describe patterns of both continuity & discontinuity, characterize shifts in the form that antisocial beh may take & identify variables that influence the trajectory of antisocial beh over time  2 of the various ways of viewing developmental trajectories of conduct/antisocial problems… 1. AGE OF ONSET CHILDHOOD ONSET 6 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS  A number of authors have proposed 2 distinct developmental patterns leading toward antisocial behavior, one with a childhood onset and the other a late/adolescent onset  The childhood-onset developmental pattern fits with the notion of the stability of CD behavior  Moffit terms this pattern “life-course persistent antisocial behavior”  Child & adolescent literature and studies of antisocial adults are consistent w/ this view of stable CD beh among particular groups of c&a o A substantial number of children w/ an early onset of antisocial beh don’t persist on this pathway  Youths following this early-onset patterns are also more likely from preschool on to exhibit other problems, such as ADHD, neurobiological, and neurocognitive deficits, and academic difficulties o These early difficulties may be the starting point for one developmental pathway characterized by early onset and by persistent disruptive and antisocial behavior during childhood & adolescence  For some this pathway may lead to Antisocial Personality Disorder & other neg. outcomes in adulthood  Although there’s stability of problematic behavior for some with an early onset, antisocial behaviors exhibit qualitative change in the course of development heterotypic continuity of antisocial behavior  Some individuals with a difficult temperament may have an even earlier onset: during infancy o Better specification of the features of disruptive behavior among very young children and additional research are needed ADOLESCENT ONSET  An adolescent-onset developmental pattern is illustrated in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Heath and Development Study  large increase in the prevalence of nonaggressive conduct problems but no increase in aggressive behavior at age 15 compared with age 11  These young people were clearly exhibiting problem behavior ~ they were as likely to be arrested for delinquent offenses as were childhood-onset delinquents BUT their offenses were less aggressive than those of childhood-onset delinquents  The majority of females were adolescent –onset cases, while males composed most of the conduct disorder cases at age 11  This pattern is the more common developmental pathway.  Those who exhibit this pattern show little oppositional/antisocial behavior during childhood  During adolescence, they begin to engage in illegal activities, and although most exhibit only isolated antisocial acts, some engage in enough antisocial behavior to qualify for a diagnosis of CD o The antisocial behavior are less likely to persist beyond adolescence and thus are sometimes termed “adolescent-limited”  Some youth continue to have difficulties later in life incarceration or disruption in education may contribute to more negative outcomes  These difficulties may not be as severe as the outcomes for the life-course-persistent individuals  It’s important to determine which individuals discontinue & which persist or escalate their antisocial behavior as they enter adulthood, and to identify what accounts for these differences over time 2. DEVELOPMENTAL PATHS  This gives more attention to the conceptualization of developmental progressions of conduct problems  Loeber proposed a model that illustrates some of the attributes that might characterize the developmental course of CDs within individuals  the model suggests that at each level, less serious behaviors precede more serious ones but that only some individuals progress to the next step  Progression on a developmental path is characterized by increasing diversification of antisocial behaviors. Children and adolescents who progress show new antisocial behaviors and may retain their previous behaviors rather than replacing them ~ individuals may differ in their rate of progression LOEBER’S THREE-PATHWAY MODEL  Loeber suggested a model that conceptualized antisocial behavior along multiple pathways  On the basis of a longitudinal study of inner-city youths, and following from distinctions btw conduct problem behaviors described earlier, Loeber proposed a triple-pathway model: 1. a Overt Pathway: Starting with minor aggression, followed by physical fighting, followed by violence 7 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS 2. a Covert Pathway: Starting with minor covert behaviors, followed by property damage, and then moderate to serious delinquency 3. an Authority Conflict Pathway: Prior to age 12, consisting of a sequence of stubborn behavior, defiance, and authority avoidance  Individuals may progress along one or more of these pathways  Entry into the Authority Conflict Path- way typically begins earlier than entry into the other 2 pathways & not all individuals who exhibit early behaviors on a particular path progress through the subsequent stages ~ % of youngsters exhibiting behavior characteristics of later stages of a pathway is less than those exhibiting earlier behaviors ETIOLOGY  The development of conduct problems is likely to involve the complex interplay of a variety of influences  T 8.5 (p196) provides a list of categories and examples of empirically validated risk factors for childhood aggression and later delinquency. o Important to remember that causal explanations typically involve transactional influences and multiple variations in the association of influences THE SOCIOECONOMIC CONTEXT  Multiple finding suggest the importance of the larger social context ~ the impact of poverty on ODD & CD problems has been demonstrated among several ethnic groups  Other influences that are associated with poverty (neighborhood context) also have received attention  Disadvantaged communities are defined by a lack of economic & other resources, social disorganization, and racial division and tension these factors are likely to increase the risk of exposure to neighborhood- based deviant peer groups, and thus lead to increased risk for early-onset antisocial behavior  Perceived discrimination: was found to amplify the effect on contextual risk for African American youth  Socioeconomic and other disadvantages likely reflect a process in which adverse individual, family, school, and peer factors combine to increase a young person’s change of developing conduct problems  It’s also likely that positive family, peer, and school influences can be protective and moderate the effects of disadvantage AGGRESSION AS A LEARNED BEHAVIOR  Aggression is a central part of the definition of CD behavior & a common difficulty among nonreferred kids o Children clearly may learn to be aggressive by being rewarded for such behavior  Children may also learn through imitation of aggressive models  They vicariously learn new and novel aggressive responses  Exposure to aggressive models also makes aggressive responses already in the child’s repertoire more likely to occur—that is, disinhibition of aggression may occur  being learning specific-aggressive behaviors, young people may acquire general “scripts” for aggressive/hostile interpersonal behavior  Parents who engage in physical aggression toward their spouses or who physically punish their kids serve as models for aggressive behavior  Children exhibiting excessive aggressive/antisocial behaviors are likely to have siblings, parents & grandparents with histories of conduct problems & records of aggressive & criminal behavior & to have observed especially high rates of aggressive behavior in their homes  Aggression is also ubiquitous in TV programs and on other media FAMILY INFLUENCES  The family environment plays an important role in the development of CD behaviors  High incidence of deviant/criminal behavior has been reported in families of youths w/ conduct problems o Longitudinal studies show that such behavior is stable across generations  Conduct disordered children may be part of a deviant family system  Numerous family variables have been implicated, including low family socioeconomic status, large family size, marital disruption, poor- quality parenting, parental abuse & neglect, and parental psychopathology PARENT-CHILD INTERACTION AND NONCOMPLIANCE  The manner in which parents interact with their children contributes to the development of CD behavior 8 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS  Defiant, stubborn, and noncompliant behaviors are often among the first problems to develop in children  One possible factor that may account for the greater rates in some families is that parents differ in both the number and the types of commands that they give  Parents of clinic-referred children issue more commands, questions, and criticisms. Prohibitions & commands that are presented in an unclear, angry, humiliating, or nagging manner are less likely to result in child compliance.  Consequences that parents deliver also affect the child’s noncompliant behavior o A combination of negative consequences (time-out) for noncompliant behavior & reward and attention for appropriate behavior seems to be related to increased levels of compliance THE WORK OF PATTERSON AND HIS COLLEAGUES  Patterson created the Oregon Model—a developmental intervention model for families with aggressive antisocial children—based on a social interaction learning perspective  This approach recognizes that characteristics of the child plays a role with an emphasis on the social contextSystematically alter the environment that is teaching & maintaining these deviant behaviors  Patterson developed coercion theory to explain how a problematic pattern of behavior develops. o Observations suggested that acts of physical aggression were not isolated behaviors o Such acts tended to occur along with a wide range of noxious behaviors that were used to control family members in a process labeled as coercion. How & why does this process of coercion develop?  Parents who lack adequate family management skills is one factor. Parental deficits in child management lead to increasingly coercive interactions within the family and to overt antisocial behavior  Central to this process are the notions of negative reinforcement and the reinforcement trap o A mother gives in to her child’s tantrums in the supermarket & buys hum a candy bar o The short term consequence is that things are more pleasant for both parties *The child has used an aversive event (tantrum) to achieve the desired goal (candy bar) * The mother’s giving in has terminated an aversive event (tantrum & embarrassment) for her o Parent’s pay for short term gains, however, with long term consequences: *Mom received immediate relief but increased the probability that her kid will use tantrums in the future * The mom, too, has received neg reinforcement that  the likelihood that she’ll give in to future tantrums  Coercive behavior may be increased by direct positive reinforcement, in addition to this negative reinforcement  aggressive behavior may meet with social approval  The concept of reciprocity, in combination with the notion of reinforcement, adds to our understanding of how aggression and coercion may be learned and sustained.  Ex. Toddlers can learn in a short time that attacking another person in response to some intrusion can terminate that intrusion o The victim may learn from the experience & may become more likely to initiate attacks in the future. o The victim of escalating coercion also provides a negative reinforcer by giving in, increasing the likelihood that the “winner” will start future coercion at higher levels of intensity & will get the victim to give in more quickly.  In clinic families the coercive interactions are stable over time and across settings  The description of a coercive process & ineffective parenting has served as the basis for Patterson’s intervention project and for his evolving developmental model o The model (in addition to describing training of antisocial beh) describes a relationship btw antisocial behavior and poor peer relationships and other adverse outcomes. o Suggested: ineffective parenting produces the coercive, noncompliant core of antisocial behavior, which in turn lead to these other disruptions ~Hypothesized: each of these outcomes serves as a precursor to subsequent drift into deviant peer groups  Later in the process covert antisocial behaviors develop and are added to the overt/aggressive behaviors  Covert problem beh may develop as a way of avoiding harsh parenting & also may be reinforced by peers  The Parent Management Training Oregon Model is at the core of this complex theoretical model  Parenting training in this model seeks to reduce coercive parenting practices &improve positive parenting practicesparental discipline & monitoring both contribute & are influenced by the childs antisocial beh…  Parental discipline: Accurately tracks& classifies problem behaviors, ignoring trivial coercive events & using effective consequences when necessary to back up demands & requests ~ Parents of problem kids tend to be overinclusive in the behaviors that they classify as deviantthey differ in how they track & classify problem beh, and natter (nag, scold irritably) in response to low levels of coercive beh/to behavior 9 CHAPTER 8: CONDUCT PROBLEMS that other parents see as neutral and are able to ignore. Parents of antisocial kids fail to back up their commands when the child doesn’t comply, and they also fail to reward compliance when it does occur  Parental monitoring of beh is important to prevent the development &persistence over time of antisocial beh. The amount of unsupervised time is (+) correlated w/ antisocial behavior~Patterson described these families as having little info about their kid’s whereabouts, who they were with, what they were doing, or when they would be homethis prob arises from a variety of considerations, including the repeated failures that these parents experienced in controlling their child even when difficulties occurred right in front of them (requesting info would lead to conflict they rather avoid). These parents didn’t expect to receive pos responses to their involvement either from their own children/social agencies such as schools  Within this model parent and child behaviors are reciprocal in their influence THUS the parents’ behaviors and parenting practices are also shaped by the child’s behavior EXTRAFAMILIAL INFLUENCES AND PARENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Patterson proposed that any number of variables might account for changes over time in family management skills…  The handing down of faulty parenting practices from one generation to the next, explains the problematic parenting characteristics of antisocial families  Patterson’s findings support the relationship between extra familial stressor (daily hassles, negative life events, financial problems, family health problems) and parenting practices  Social disadvantage and living in neighborhoods that require a very high level of parenting skills also place some families at risk  Various forms of parental psychopathology are associated with poor parenting practices Parents who themselves have antisocial difficulties may be particularly likely to have parenting practices (inconsistent discipline, low parental involvement) associated with the development of CD behavior  Heavy drinking by parents may lower their threshold for reacting adversely to their child’s behavior and also may be associated with inept monitoring of the child and less parental involvement MARITAL DISCORD  Parental conflict and divorce are common in homes of children and adolescents with conduct problems o The conflict leading to and surrounding the divorce are principal influences in this relationship  If aggression btw the parents is also present, childhood disorder seems even more likely than would be expected on the basis of marital discord alone  The relationship btw marital conflict & CD can be explained in a number of ways parents who engage in a great deal of marital conflict/aggression may serve as models for
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